What ‘AlEmpoy’ thinks is the hardest part about filming in Paris
In my eyes, he’s just a toddler. It’s a waste of energy to get annoyed with him,” quipped Alessandra de Rossi when Inquirer Entertainment asked how her friendship with on-screen partner Empoy Marquez has developed since they did their first film project in 2017.
The “AlEmpoy” tandem was first formed when Alessandra and Empoy did the romantic drama “Kita Kita,” which currently holds the record for highest grossing local independent film. This year, the duo is back with another project, “Walang KaParis,” also with Sigrid Andrea Bernardo as writer-director.
Alessandra swears their friendship has gotten stronger and deeper through the years. “We both know how to handle each other now. We’re more aware of each other’s quirks, like when one is no longer feeling comfortable with the kakulitan of the other. We’re also quicker to act in defense of the other,” she said during a recent virtual chat, also with Sigrid.
“During ‘Kita Kita’ days, we didn’t know each other that well. Now, we’re more comfortable sharing personal problems and worries with each other, while at the same time being aware of our personal boundaries,” said Alessandra, who plays Mary in “Walang KaParis,” now streaming on Prime Video.
Empoy said it helped that he and Alessandra share many similarities. “I learned to appreciate taking care of pet birds during the pandemic because of her. We’re very open to each other, like when she would ask P500 from me when she wanted to get a massage somewhere. I’m forced to pay up. If not, she would make me massage her. Ang hirap! Ang dami n’yang lamig, eh,” said Empoy in his typical deadpan expression.
Good vibes only
Empoy denied ever having petty fights with Alessandra through the years, as hard as that was to believe. “I was never pikon with her. I only feel good vibes when I’m with her. She’s the chatty type. I have no problem with just staying quiet and listening to her,” Empoy told the Inquirer during a recent media junket organized by Prime.
“I guess I’m just too kind to him,” said Alessandra. “When we were working in Japan, he disappeared for several hours and nobody knew where he went. He came back with shopping bags!”
“Maganda kasi mag-ukay-ukay sa Japan (It’s nice to buy surplus goods in Japan),” Empoy explained. “In my eyes, he’s just 2 years old. It’s a waste of energy to get annoyed with him,” Alessandra interjected.
While it felt “surreal” and “out of this world” for Alessandra to have shot a movie with Empoy in Paris, this also proved to be extremely challenging, especially since it was shot during the pandemic lockdowns of 2021. “If you’re going to make a movie abroad, it’s good for an outdoor scene if you have strangers walking in the background. But because of the pandemic, most of them were wearing masks. They can’t be seen like that on cam,” she began. “When I saw the movie, it was just the two of us there walking, and it looked out of this world. It’s not so bad. The isolation worked to the film’s benefit.”
Alessandra said that even though they had already shot some parts of the film in Baguio while still unvaccinated, they were forced to avail themselves of the COVID-19 vaccine before flying to Paris. “I thought, ‘This wasn’t part of the deal. This is unfair.’ But we can’t stop working on the film just because some of us don’t want to get vaccinated,” she pointed out.
The actress said she treated the trip to Paris as some sort of reunion with the “Kita Kita” team. “I was happy for the chance to travel with them again, from Japan to Paris, which was like my next travel destination with friends. I felt safe with them because I’ve known them for a long time,” she recalled.
In “Walang KaParis,” Empoy plays Jojo, a Filipino artist based in Paris. He has many lovers, but constantly finds himself painting a woman with no name and history. One day, Alessandra, who plays Mary, walks up to him and claims to be the subject of his paintings.
“What I love about Mary is that she’s a go-getter. If she wants something or someone, she will work on acquiring this, at all costs. I’m not like her in that sense because I’d rather sleep on this desire first and wait. That’s also what I like about portraying her—we’re very different. It’s interesting to develop the character because she is so unlike me,” said Alessandra.
“I don’t like chasing after a person. I feel like it diminishes my feminine energy. Besides, would I really run after this guy?” she asked while pointing at Empoy.
“Bakit ako na naman? Jojo and I are similar in some ways. He has a lot of both comedy and drama in his life,” he declared.
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